No matter how far you live from the sea, there are a lot of things you can do to help lessen human impact on sharks in your day to day life. Here are some of the ones we do!
1. ASK WHERE IT CAME FROM.
IF you purchase seafood, please ask where it came from and how it was caught. It's so easy to purchase swordfish and have no idea it came from a fishery like the drift gillnet fishery off the California coast or a longline vessel, most likely killing multiple sharks and other marine species in the process. If the seller doesn't know or says long lines, gillnets, or trawling, make a point of saying "oh, then no thank you." Let businesses know their customers are becoming more aware and will not purchase their seafood if it is caught unsustainably.
2. CHECK THE INGREDIENTS.
Did you know shark might be in your skincare, vitamins, or even pet's food?
For makeup and skincare, make sure to check the ingredients for squalene as it's typically sourced from shark liver oil. Some brands get away with labeling their shark oil as something generic like "fish oil," because technically sharks are fish. If you're unsure, look up the brand on the internet and find out if it is shark-safe.
When it comes to vitamins and supplements, keep an eye out for shark cartilage and its claims to help joint pain and stiffness. Even if the health claims were legitimate, trust us, it's not worth the mercury.
The same goes for pet food. If there's "fish" in your pet's kibble, make sure you find out which kind. Fish labeled generically, like "white fish," should be red flags.
3. REFUSE SINGLE USE.
Single use products, particularly ones made from plastic and polystyrene foam, are a threat to all marine life. These items last thousands of years and therefore have an incredibly long time to eventually find their way to the sea, endangering animals with threats of entanglement or ingestion. When consumed, marine life can starve to death with stomachs filled with rubbish they're unable to digest. One of the scariest things about these products is after they're consumed they'll outlive the body of the animal and go on to be potentially consumed by another animal. Skip the straw, refuse the bag, go re-usable and encourage others to do the same. You can also take the same approach we recommend for seafood! For instance, the next time you order takeout, make a point of asking "does it come in plastic?" or "does it come in styrofoam?" If they say yes, tell them oh then no thanks. If people continue to do this, restaurant owners will realize it's not worth the loss and make the switch to more eco-friendly alternatives.
4. FRIENDS DON'T LET FRIENDS EAT SHARK!
Hopefully, it goes without saying, but don't eat shark fin soup or shark meat! Go a step further and make sure your friends don't either! Send them a link to one of our pages on the dangers of eating shark meat and how important sharks are to the ocean!